ABC has ordered four new comedies to series for the 2016-17 season, “Speechless,” “Imaginary Mary,” “Downward Dog,” and the project formerly known as “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport,” now known as Untitled Sarah Dunn.
The live action/CGI hybrid “Imaginary Mary” centers around Alice (Jenna Elfman, “Dharma & Greg”) a fiercely independent career woman whose life is turned upside-down when she meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as a child suddenly reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.
The series also stars Stephen Schneider as Ben, Rachel Dratch as the titular imaginary friend Mary, Nicholas Coombe as Andy, Matreya Scarrwener as Dora and Erica Trembay as Bunny.
The series hails from “The Goldbergs” writers and exec producers Adam F. Goldberg and David Guarascio, and exec producer Doug Robinson. The CG animation for Mary is designed by Patrick Osborne (creator of Oscar-winning animated short “The Feast”), who also serves as executive producer. The pilot was directed by “Night at the Museum” helmer Shawn Levy, who also executive produces. The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, Happy Madison and ABC Studios.
In “Speechless,” Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver, “About A Boy”) is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her husband Jimmy (John Ross Bowie), her kids Ray (Mason Cook), Dylan (Kyla Kennedy), and JJ (Micah Fowler), her eldest son with special needs. As Maya fights injustices both real and imagined, the family works to make a new home for themselves, and searches for just the right person to give JJ his “voice.” The series also stars Cedric Yarbrough.
“Friends” alum Scott Silveri writes and executive produces the comedy, along with “Fresh Off the Boat’s” Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar. The series is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television and ABC Studios.
Based on the web series of the same name, “Downward Dog” is about a struggling millennial, Nan (“Fargo’s” Allison Tolman), from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. One session at obedience school already makes them realize that even at their worst, they may be the best thing for each other. The series stars Tolman, Lucas Neff as Jason, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Jenn, Barry Rothbart as Kevin and Mo Collins as Kim.
“Downward Dog” was created and written by Samm Hodges and Michael Killen, who will executive produce with Mosaic Media Group’s Jimmy Miller and Sam Hansen, and Animal’s Kathy Dziubek. Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky were executive producers of the pilot. The series hails from Legendary Television and ABC Studios.
The Sarah Dunn project centers around Katie Otto (Katy Mixon, “Mike and Molly”), a confident, unapologetic, plump wife and mother of three, who is raising her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring. Katie will let us in on her deepest, most unfiltered thoughts through voiceover as the she lives her life as the second fattest housewife in Westport.
The series stars Mixon, Diedrich Bader as Jeff Otto, Johnny Sequoyah as Taylor, Daniel DiMaggio as Harrison, Julia Butters as Anna-Kat, Carly Hughes as Angela and Ali Wong as Doris.
The project is written by Sarah Dunn (“Spin City,” “Bunheads”) and produced by Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios. Aaron Kaplan, Rick Weiner and Kenny Schwartz are executive producers and the pilot was directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also exec produces.
On the drama front, ABC has ordered “Conviction,” “Notorious,” “Time After Time,” “Still Star-Crossed” and “Designated Survivor” to series.